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Topic: Helo from WA Hist Fiction Readers

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Subject: Helo from WA Hist Fiction Readers
Date Posted: 6/20/2011 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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While I primarily read historical fiction, I have been making an effort lately to break the mold and try out some other great books. I agree with a lot of your choices in your Historical Fiction Booklist. I just wanted to let you all know I created another Booklist titled 'Best of My Reading' which was my effort to share those books I felt I could highly recommend. This 'Best of My Reading List' contains historical fiction and towards the END some of the newer books I've tried out which were incredible. Like 'Evidence of Things Unseen', 'Gargoyle', 'In the Time of the Butterflies', 'The Piano Tuner', 'The Breaking of Eggs' etc.  I probably should have titled the list 'Historical Fiction AND Other Greats'. I love the well-written book which has so much to say it has me running for my journal to note down phrases or sentences that strike me as so profound. A lot of those are on this list. Happy to discuss any of them with folks.

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Hi and welcome! Thanks for sharing your favorites---we here are always happy to discuss, well, just about anything and you will find that with most of us, HF is the strong favorite reading genre but that we all like other categories as well--we are seriously avid readers here. I am going to check out a few that I see on your list--thanks!

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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Hi Cameron-Ashley H.,

I just took a look at you book list, loving it!  I'm a watcher!

I see you have listed several books by Dorothy Dunnett, I haven't read any of her books......If I were to read one,  where should I start?  Which is your favorite? Which would you recommend?

Subject: Dunnett and the Niccolo series
Date Posted: 6/20/2011 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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I almost hesitate to answer that one! The 'Niccolo' series is a LONG series by Dunnett and of course you'd have to start with book 1. Having said that, it became one of my more frustrating reads. I couldn't WAIT for it to END. It hooks you because there are some major unresolved issues that keep you going from book to next book, not wanting to give up until you are satisfied with a conclusion. They are indeed well written, but the problem becomes that it goes on way too long. You find yourself getting angry with the main character...like stop being so stupid! There are a couple of characters you really begin to dislike and you want to see them killed but of course you have to keep reading! You might want to get some other opinions before embarking on the Niccolo series. Or read book 1 and see how you feel.

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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I found out that there is a DOROTHY DUNNETT COMPANION book that provides background information for her characters and events in her novels. It might be worth my while to refer to it when reading her novels.  I love novels that are set in the Renaissance period.  I'll give NICCOLO RISING a try.  Thanks!

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,411
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Anna,

Complex plots are part of Dorothy Dunnett's charm success. The issues Cameron mentions are true, it's just a matter of whether they become an irritant or not. 

I loved, loved, loved the Lymond Chronicles - a series of six books that are set in mid to late 1500's (Mary, Queen of Scots is just a little girl). The books are very complex with twists and turns, bad guys turning good, good guys turning bad, plot twists like you can't believe and most of all, excellent, excellent writing!

I've now read the 1st two Niccolo books and am equally enjoying them, althoug I'm not compelled to read them one right after the other like I was the Lymond books. (That probably has something to do with these challenges I've committed myself to! surprise )

Starting w/ Niccolo is an excellent place to begin for you as you already have a love & familiarity w/ the Renaissance era. They start a little slow ... and again, she writes complicated plots ... just stick with it until it all starts to click together ... it is very much worth it!!

And, yes, the companion books (there are actually two of them) are very helpful, IMO.

Kelly

 

P.S. & just FYI, below is my AMZ review for Game of Kings which is the first Lymond book. 

 

A very rewarding experience! And, "experience" is an apt way to describe reading this book & becoming embroiled in the adventures of Lymond Crawford, Master of Culter and the other characters who bring this story to life. 

More than once during the first 100 pages or so, I thought I would give up on it ... the subtleties and the intricacies of the tightly woven plot were difficult to follow at first. And, the references to ancient literature, ancient language, customs, etc. almost left me in despair of ever understanding. 

But, then I would come across a sentence that is so perfectly written, so beautifully stated & that lends itself so completely to the flavor of the story that I literally had no choice but to reread it several times from sheer enjoyment and then continue on with renewed interest and enthusiasm. 

The last 150 or so pages were enthralling ... sit on the edge of your seat ... read long after you should be preparing for bed, or work, or dinner, etc. Everything comes together in a way that leaves you simply counting the days until the sequel arrives & you can pick up where you left off! 

So, I have decided that this book is something of a paradox. To really enjoy The Game of Kings, one must first know the characters. Unfortunately, the only way to get to know the characters is by reading The Game of Kings. I'm sure you see where I am heading: this book is one to be read, & reread with increasing enjoyment with each reading! After I finished reading it for the first time this morning, I immediately went back to the beginning of the book & reread some of the beginning scenes -this time with delight & full understanding of my hero! 

Best advice: if this is a subject matter that interests you; if you are a true student of fine historical fiction, then by all means give this a try ... and don't give up!

 

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Cameron-Ashley H.  We are going to have to get you a nick name,wink  welcome to the H/F forum.  The people here are a great group.  Welcome!

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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Kelly,  thanks for the info!

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Welcome, Cameron-Ashley! It was fun to look at your list. Some I knew, some I didn't, some I agree are terrific books, and some I disagree with -- but, as Colleen posted, we're happy to discuss books here -- and we welcome different perspectives. So, please, post away!

Well, Anna, as is always the case, you can't go wrong listening to Kelly. I too loved, loved, loved the Lymond chronicles -- undoubtedly the most memorable reading experience I've had -- but as most will tell you, they're not easy books, especially the first one. There's a certain leap of faith required -- the reader just has to be patient and know that eventually it will all make sense. I have not read the Niccolo books yet. My husband, who read the Lymond Chronicles at the same time that I did, is now on the 6th Niccolo book -- and is enjoying them immensely -- but is annoyed that I haven't yet read them because he wants to talk about them. Note re: the Dunnet companions: the first volume covers the Lymond books and the first 5 Niccolo books; the second volume covers the last 3 Niccolo books. While the companion books are necessary, I think they will enhance your understanding.

 

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,716
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Cameron-Ashley H.  We are going to have to get you a nick name

I vote for "Cash"...what's not to love about a nickname like that?  wink

Welcome to the HF forum!  I too looked at your list...and I think we are kindred spirits!  I have read so many books on your list..and the rest are on my TBR pile, with the exception of Dorothy Dunnett. LOL...one author I've never read. Please, no one tempt me to add her to my list either.  I tell ya, I'm not gonna live long enough to finish what's on there now!

Date Posted: 6/20/2011 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 1,366
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Deb,  you "loved, loved, loved the LYMOND CHRONICLES" and it was "the most memorable reading experience" you've had!?!  That is the kind of book I want to read!



Last Edited on: 6/20/11 9:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/20/2011 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,500
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Welcome to the forum Cameron-Ashley!!

 

Kelly:  I loved your review of The Game of Kings you really understand the author and her writing.  I still love the Niccolo books best, I guess because I stumbled upon them first and Niccolo is such a flawed but compelling character.  Francis Crawford is too; I guess the dimples just get to me more.  Both series are some of the best examples of fine historical fiction; I can't agree with Kelly more.  She said it perfectly.



Last Edited on: 6/20/11 11:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2011 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,411
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~~ Blushing with pride at the kind words of my peers whom I respect & admire ~~

 

Cam-Ash, I've now also reviewed your "Best of" reading list &, like others have advised, you might as well stick around - you have lots in common with the rest of this group!

But, Holy Smokes - Poland by Michener ?!? I have read a lot of his books and loved them  & I did finish Poland (in fact, you would be the 2nd person I know who actually slogged through the entire book), but it would sure never make it to a best of list of mine!

Thanks for sharing your list with us & I hope we all get the chance to get to know you more!

Kelly

 



Last Edited on: 6/21/11 4:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/21/2011 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,716
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I'm raising my hand as one who slogged through Poland.  But I had to make up new names for all the characters, and keep the crib sheet close at hand while I was reading.  Too many cwzycw's in those names! wink

Date Posted: 6/21/2011 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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I did that too--shorten the names. And that wasn't the only book I've had to do that on when the book had those long names without vowels:) Michener is untouchable, just like Charles Dickens is. You may not like every book Charles Dickens wrote but he was a master of the historical novel. And Michener. To me both just hold a place that others only achieve to reach.  They just demand respect. Different kind of authors than we have in the now mass-market era of books.

Date Posted: 6/21/2011 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,411
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Different kind of authors than we have in the now mass-market era of books.

I'll definitely endorse that statement ... can anyone say Philippa Gregory just as a fer instance ?!?

 

Zippity, Vicky! That makes three!! Is there a fourth? 

 



Last Edited on: 6/21/11 5:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/21/2011 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 9,499
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Welcome Cameron-Ashley!  You will love this forum.  They are great!

Date Posted: 6/21/2011 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I'll be #4 ... I read Poland about two years ago and liked it quite a bit--no slogging required.  It was actually my first Michener and I've read a couple more since, but I didn't like them anywhere near as much as Poland.  Centennial and Carribean are DNF and Journey was only ok.  I have Covenant on my Around the World challenge, and I hope I like it better.



Last Edited on: 6/22/11 9:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/21/2011 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,411
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~~ bows deeply & humbly to Sharla ~~

 

Date Posted: 6/25/2011 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I adored Poland...